By Opheli Garcia Lawler
Raury performed at the Bowery Ball this past Tuesday, November 3rd. His openers were India Shawn and London O’Connor. Raury came on at 10:30 and performed a 45 minute set. He opened with his song “Revolution” and he amped the crowd up.
His second song was “Forbidden Knowledge”, one of the stand out tracks from his recently released album, All We Need. He performed it with a veracity that got the crowd moving inside the small space. He gave full energy to each song, with a captivating mix of confidence and humility.
The crowd itself was an odd mix: there were the people you would expect to be listening to Raury, those draped in fashionable sweaters, black jeans and an assortment of trendy piercings and tattoos. Then there were a lot of what could only be described as Frat Bros; dressed in gray t-shirts or or Old Navy button downs. There were even people in the audience who looked like they just got out of a stuffy office. These members of the audience are important because they give way to a duality of Raury himself, of a budding industry success, and of an artist whose appeal extends far beyond the expected.
By the time Raury introduced his song “Trap Tears”, the “Frat Bro” hecklers had calmed down and he began a serious message about living the trap lifestyle. He then gravely, but passionately delivered the song, to a crowd that wanted recieved it somberly, but didn’t seem capable of doing so. There was an undercurrent of desire for a party, for a blast of electricity.
Raury coasted through “Crystal Express” the namesake of his tour, getting everyone to sing along. Then came “Devil’s Whisper” which is where the concert took a sharp turn. This is where Raury the rockstar emerged. Here, his message, of consciousness, of awareness, of revolution, came through full volume. He was electrifying, bouncing across the stage, spraying to crowd with water, embodying the stage presence of Prince and Mick Jagger and something not seen before. Raury went from the guy the crowd wanted to be friends with to the artist we revered.
He performed three more songs, one from his EP, Indigo Child and two from All We Need. Everything went dark. The crowd went wild, chanting for his return to the stage. He came back, with water for the crowd. He tossed the bottles to the crowd, and a couple of audience members seemed a little too stoned to catch them. He then went into CPU, which many had been calling for the whole night. The light show was crazy. The crowd was hyped. It couldn’t possibly get any more fun.
Then it did. He began “God’s Whisper”. The second part of his encore, even though he performing an older song, was a glimpse of what Raury will undeniably grow into. As he dove over the crowd into the hands of Frat Bros, Hipsters, Nine to Fivers, and everything in between, it was undeniably clear that Raury won’t be able to do it much longer. Soon, he with his stage presence, his talent, his energy, he will be in places like Madison Square Garden, and the hands reaching for him will be rows and rows away.
Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Highlighter Staff Columnist. Email her at email@example.com